Keum, who shot to fame in her home country when she won the Miss Korea title in 2002, has also garnered national renown for her academic achievements, which have made her a role model among the country’s youth.
Following her beauty pageant success, Keum dropped out of Kyungpook National University’s school of medicine to pursue her undergraduate studies overseas after being accepted by Harvard University in the United States, where she majored in biochemistry, graduating in 2008. After subsequently earning a master’s degree in nutritional science at Columbia University, Keum went on to graduate from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health with a dual-doctorate in nutrition and epidemiology in 2015.
Keum has published a number of peer-reviewed research papers and is also the author of three Korean-language books: Na-na’s Neverending Story, Everyone Can Do It, and Study Diary of Na-na. She recently accepted a professorship at Dongguk University in Seoul, founded by the Jogye Order.